I read Katie’s post last week and just about fell about laughing.  What she wrote is so true, and shows to prove that whatever the topic, if small children are involved, someone somewhere is going to find some battle lines to draw!

Hopefully I fall more into the category of ‘perfectly normal Mummy whose children happen to have really clicked with BLW’ than a member of the BLW police, I mean, I do own quite a collection of baby spoons, so I can’t be all that bad.  And so for anyone who may be curious, and mostly for the benefit of my sister and her NCT group, who all wanted to come to lunch to see how it works in practice, this is the reality; a day in the meals of a BLW baby.

And if you’re my Dad or my in-laws, both of whose carpets have suffered from the exuberant attitude of their granddaughters towards supper, I won’t be offended if you don’t want to relieve the trauma; just scroll down for some pretty pictures and then go and have a consoling hoover.

So let’s start at the very beginning.  (Or at least the beginning of the food – Elma still nurses first thing in the morning, last thing at night and at least a couple of times during the day)

7.15am: Breakfast 

I did take some photos but apparently decided to delete them at some point so you’re going to have use your imagination for now.  Picture a table full of very much still half asleep people, both big and small, and a sky still pitchy black out the window.  If your artistic preferences are for realism please also include large dark circles under the eyes of the biggest people.

I am a little bit spoiled when it comes to breakfast as H cooks a big pan of scrambled eggs for us all most mornings.  It’s mostly egg, with a splash of milk, a smidgen of salt, all cooked up in a little butter.

My job is making the toast, getting the girls up, and scurrying around after any last minute bits and bobs, and Kitty is chief in charge of laying out juice glasses, and choosing who gets which colours.

Elma gets a slice of buttered toast and a small helping of eggs, and her sippy cup full of water.  Usually the eggs disappear at speed; we leave her portion as lumpy as possible so that she can grab hold of little nuggets of egg and take a bite.  She mostly saves the toast for chewing practice, and generally has mashed and eaten the middle of a couple of squares with her gums (about half the slice) before jettisoning the crust overboard.

It’s all washed down with a few big slugs of water, before she decides that enough is enough; the plate is emptied out, any remaining food spread out as far as she can reach, and that’s my cue to rescue her cup before she starts trying to water herself, the floor, me, or anything else in range.

11.15am: Snack

All the clapping and wriggling at Rhyme Time wore out both girls, and we still had a few errands to run so we stopped off at the Friday Street Feasts market to split a Thai spring roll from one of the stalls.

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It was delicious; soft shredded veggies and noodles, all wrapped up in a wrapper.  I gave Elma a couple of inches and it all disappeared; barely a crumb left as evidence.

1.30pm: Lunch

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I think Kitty would have pasta shapes and cheese for lunch every day if I’d let her, and I really like it too, so we have to put a little effort in for variety.

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Yesterday we had Potato gnocchi in homemade pasta sauce (onion, garlic, grated carrot, tinned tomatoes, oregano, simmer for at least 10 minutes), but our favourites also include corn on the cob (Elma gets half of the kernels sliced off, and half to chew at), veggie egg fried rice, sandwiches, hummus with dippers, and soup. 20131025-DSC_0085

Elma loves gnocchi; they’re soft enough that she can really chew them despite there still being no sign of any teeth.  I’ll offer a little of the tomato sauce on a spoon but mostly she prefers her fingers and there’s only so many times you can pick the spoons up from the floor before you decide just to go with it.

And to finish up we raided the fruit box for a few ripe pears to slice up.  The pear is soft enough that she can gum it, and she’ll suck on it until it gets mushy and then drop the bit she was holding.

4.15pm: Tea

Because lunch was a little later than usual, and we’d had a morning snack we had a small tea; a drink and an Ella’s biscuit.  Elma chewed half of it to mush and then somehow managed to crumble the rest of it down her vest and into her nappy.

6.20pm: Supper

Salmon with crème fraiche, sliced potatoes, broccoli and carrots.

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This is Kitty’s supper because Elma took one look at her supper and decided that it would be much better out of the plate than in.  The broccoli was dropped down the side of her highchair onto my toes, she ate about half of the carrots and salmon, and viewed the potatoes with general suspicion.

But by this point the eye rubbing and yawning had kicked up a gear and anything left was swept off the table, so it was time for bath, stories, more milk and bed.

Elma eats what we eat.  Some days it’s a perfect nutritious balance, gold stars rain from the heavens and your already charming and adorable baby eats everything without getting so much as a smudge on either your or their own outfits; some days it’s more a question of staring at the fridge, wondering what on earth you can turn it all into, and most days it’s a healthy mix of the two.  All that really matters is that the girls are fed, nourished and happy, and BLW works for us, and most importantly, for them.  If it didn’t, or rather, hadn’t, I would have changed in a heartbeat.  It isn’t rocket science, there’s no one truly ‘right’ way to feed a baby.

So, mostly for the benefit of my sister and the NCT group I’m opening the floor.  If there’s anything you’ve ever wanted to know about BLW in practice (is it messy? Yes), or toddler eating post-BLW (does it stop them being fussy? not necessarily), shout it out and I’ll try to do a Q&A session in the not too distant future.

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4 Responses to Baby Led Weaning in practice, and all over the floor

  1. Katie says:

    You most definitely fall into the normal category Carie! Thanks for the mention :)

    Great post and lovely photos – they look like they have a fantastic diet. Love that Elma polished off the Thai spring roll, good girl! X

    • Carie Carie says:

      Thank you :) She is a wonderfully adventurous eater at the moment, she gets really cross if I’m having something and she isn’t, so she gets a little taste of all sorts of things!

  2. mandycharlie says:

    In the old days, we helped our babies eat to start with, by six months they were waving a plastic spoon around whilst they were being spoon fed and like Katie said, they were interactive not passive and you gave them small pieces of carrot and peas to handle themselves, so it was a combination of the two. But you didn’t get such mess and waste of food as solely BLW. And when you did get waste by food being dropped we found owning one or two whippets helped enormously.

    • Carie Carie says:

      I wonder whether it’s the change in weaning age that’s helped to create tension where there shouldn’t be any? When I was tiny Mum started me on purée at 4 months, or possibly even 3 – there’s no way BLW would work at that age, they’ve got to be able to sit up for starters so if you want to give food it’s purée or you just stick to milk, depending on what the baby needs. I strongly suspect that there isn’t that much difference between a purée weaned baby and my Elma in terms of what and probably how they eat at 10 months.